It was going to happen and it has. Andrew Sparrow, that wonderful instantaneous commentator on all matters political, needs to be more careful when it comes Alan Johnson.
In his summary of the Labour conference Sparrow reports that Our Man will not stand as a candidate. This is not correct. This is what The Times reported:
Friends of Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary — who stayed loyal this summer, even when he was widely touted as the probable replacement — are now saying that he will not stand for the leadership after the election, when “it will be the turn of a younger generation”.
And here is Sparrow:
But Johnson's supporters are now in despair and, according to the Times today, he has even ruled out standing as a candidate.
Apart from the fact that Johnson didn't say it, Sparrow should have quoted correctly and included the vital phrase “after the election”.
Sparrow's link is to John Rentoul’s piece, which says:
It has been a bad conference, above all, for the Alan Johnson campaign.
That is little different to saying “Johnson’s supports are now in despair”.
Maybe it is only a small point, but the record should be corrected because to date Alan Johnson has not ruled himself out. All that happened this week is that the AJ campaign had a “little local difficulty”.